Edvard Munch’s Self-portrait with Burning Cigarette is a famous artwork painted in 1895 when the artist was 31 years old. The painting represents Munch directly engaging his viewer while being distanced from the world. It’s located at the National Gallery in Oslo and has subtle contradictions reflecting concerns about his personal psychology and the dark underside of his identity.
Munch’s use of the cigarette and physical decay rejected societal values, which aroused controversy during that time. Additionally, blue smoke heightens the expressive effect on Munch’s face and hand as he stares at you from under a heavy brow. With this self-portrait, Munch played a vital role in developing German expressionism, where themes often included misery, sickness, and death.
Self-portrait with Burning Cigarette holds much significance for art enthusiasts as it presents an internal conflict that existed within Edvard Munch at that time of his life. As someone considered avant-garde for their era, this piece reflects not only their artistic style but also serves as an insight into their complex psyche.